Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Come, you blessed...

These are the words found in Matt. 25:34, when the King (God) says, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in..." We understand from this passage that we are supposed to be about good works and having a servant heart.

I have had many people in my life time come asking for assistance in one form or another. Just last night this happened again, with a total stranger coming up to me asking me for help. As a Christians you want to help them, but in the back of my mind I am always questioning, "Do they really need it or are they lying?" We want to do the right thing, but the way our world is, you are not always sure who is telling the truth or who is just trying to take you for your money. If you have found yourself in this situation here are a few suggestions in no particular order that maybe will help you in deciding what to do:

1.      Do Good to Please God – Matt. 6:1-4.  Do not do good, just because it may be an opportunity for other people to see you doing it, but do it because it will be pleasing to God.

2.       We have to be willing – Matt. 8:1-4.  Many times we see Jesus helping because He was willing to.  We might have to ask ourselves the question if we are willing or not and go from there.  
3.      Give what we have – Acts 3:6. – Even if we do not have anything physical to give, we can always leave people with words from almighty God, an encouraging word, or a word of prayer.

4.      Don’t give to all who ask – Acts 8 (Asked out of impure motives). Simon was not given what he asked for just because he asked for it.  Just because people ask for it, doesn’t mean they always should get it, or necessarily means they need it. 

5.       Ask many detailed questions (If they really need help, they will not mind answering questions) 
               a. What specifically is the need
               b. Why do you need it.
               c. Who else have you asked. 
               d. Where is your destination (specific location)
               e. Where are you coming from.

      6.   If possible, Prove what is said.  
a. People will lie to get whatever they are asking for, so we want to make sure we are helping those truly in need.

     7.    Always try to meet the need, & never give $$

               a. Money can be used for anything other than their request.

     8.  Leave them with something about Jesus.

a. A simple statement of, “May God bless you’ leave a person with the thought of God when you leave.

Let us do good unto other, but especially to those of the household of fiath (Gal. 6:10)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What About "Booda?"

I think I am getting a hold of this “pigeon’ language better.  Pigeon is a broken English with a strong dialect to it.  Our dialects only hold us back a little.  The people here talk too fast, and they say the same about me.  I was talking to one of the students about what we had at dinner and telling him that Elangwe offered me “booda.”   What he was saying was "butter" which is important to this story.  I wanted to see if the students knew what Brother Elangwe was talking about, because I didn’t.  Well the way I said, “booda” they thought I said “bottle.”  When they say “bottle” they associate that with whiskey.  So with the student looking very confused at me, I got the impression that something was not right.  So once we finally spelled it out in the dirt, they understood that Elangwe offered me ‘butter’ and not ‘bottle’ (whiskey).  I am glad we got that cleared up.  That could have been bad for the school of preaching and for the director (brother Elangwe) and myself.  The point is that words have very important meanings and is the way by which people communicate.  Make sure that we are communicating things correctly and not sending the wrong messages.  Let us be careful of our tongue.  It is something that cannot be tamed (James 3).  The words by which we speak can be detriment to other or ourselves if we are using them negatively such as gossiping, backbiting, lying, etc (Romans 1:30).  Rather, let us edify one anther (Heb. 10:24).  Tell others about Jesus Christ and salvation (2Tim. 4:2). Let us use it to praise God and glorify Him for the things He has done for us.  What will your words communicate to others? 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The other day, there was a family at the church in Wotutu that wanted to celebrate the birth of their new baby.  They said that they wanted to have a fellowship meal.  They invited all of the congregation over to their house for fellowship and a meal.  Tonight, Wednesday night we had a celebration meal after Bible study which was honoring the teachers who came to teach in the school for the past two weeks.  This was such an honor to me and the other minister teaching the short courses.  I think it was interesting and yet very satisfying of what both celebration meals consisted of.  Popcorn and peanuts.  This seems to be common here in the Wotutu village for celebration special occasions.  In America, we might think that is all, where is the potluck, where is the buffet, but it is really all you need.  It is amazing how much popcorn and peanuts can bring people together and how they are so happy just to be in the midst of each other and fellowship. 
                There is also another celebration that we as Christians are about.  Not just the birth of a baby or ministers coming to teach the gospel, but the Celebration that Jesus rose from the dead according to the scriptures.  We celebrate in a similar way.  We do not celebrate in a buffet or a full-fledged meal.  We celebrate with a small cracker of unleavened bread, and a small amount of the fruit of the vine.  This meal is small, yet one of the most important ones that we celebrate.  It is to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is a time of fellowship between one another and our Lord.  Let us not so much focus on the contents of what we eat at a celebration event, but rather on the occasion, whether that be popcorn and peanuts, or a cracker and fruit of the vine.  May God bless you as you glorify Him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carrying A Sword

                When we think of carrying a sword, as Christians we are usually referring to the Bible.  We are supposed to carry the “Sword of God” with us everywhere we go ready to combat sin as we encounter it.  In Africa they physically carry the sword.  I am not talking about physically carrying the Bible, but people will be walking down the street carry a machete.  When I first saw this I was taken back, especially when I saw a young kid about 10 years old carrying his sword.  What really is worrisome is when you see someone who is carrying one of these machetes and does not look very happy.  You wonder to yourself, “If they get mad, I’m out of here.”   In America if we say someone carrying a machete down the road, in town, or in the super market, they would be arrested and taken to jail.  In Africa it is an everyday occurrence for them to carry their ‘sword’ wherever they go.  It is part of their livelihood.  They use their machetes to work on their farms, pruning their crops and using them for the harvest of their produce.  They are not using their sword for harm but for good; to help sustain life by the produce they reap. 
                In like manner, we should be using our “sword,” the bible for these same uses.  We are to use the word of God, the sword, as part of our livelihood (Col. 3:16).  We are supposed to use the word of God, the sword, for good and not for harm (Acts 15:31).  We are to use the word of God, the sword, to prune those in the body of Christ and make them better (John 15:2).  We are to use the word of God, the sword, to produce fruit for God (Matt. 13:23).  I pray that you are using your sword appropriately for the edification of the saints and to the saving of the soul.  May God bless you today.
This is Harrison, a brother in Christ in Wotutu. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Need

The other day I had the opportunity to visit with a family who was young in the faith.  They are struggling financially.  They husband and three sons are doing everything they can to make it from day to day.  They are behind on their bills and cannot make enough money to stay ahead of the game.   Due to a change in weather patterns this past year in Africa, they crop which they usually harvest has not yielded what is should have this year, and there for they are not able to make an income off of it.  The wife is teaching in a Christian primary school here in Wotutu trying to help her family.  Upon arrival at the home of this dear Christian family, we walked in, there were dirt floors of a 12 x 8 room.  There was a bench in there that they asked us to sit on, which would be equivalent to our couch.  In one corner of the room there were pots and pans that were used for cooking with their stove being outside.  When I say stove, what I mean is a small circular fire pit big enough to hold a tea kettle to heat water or put one frying pan on.  When we talked to the gentlemen in need of a crop to harvest, and his need for financial assistance.   He seemed very sad, discouraged, and depressed.  Things seem to be going all array since the economic downturn.  He had not even been able to call his wife, because he was working from the breaking of dawn till in the hours of the night trying to make what little money that he could.  The problem was not that he did not have a few minutes before he went to bed, but that there was not any electricity in the house where he was staying, therefore he could not charge the cell phone that he did have.  He would have to walk some miles to the next village just to charge his phone.  He was too worn out to do this.  This saddened my heart very greatly, seeing the state this man and his family was in.  I am not sure if or how much the church was able to aid him financially, but one thing we were able to help him with was encouraging him to keep pressing on and the God would see him through.  We prayed to God on behalf of him and his family and after the prayer, you could see this man’s spirits lift some.  We left with him waving goodbye with a smile on his face as we drove away. 
                The need usually looks financially, which is important to live.  You have to have money to eat, to pay bills, etc.  You see a lot of poverty here in Africa, as well as you can see in many places of the world.  Each person has their own struggles and difficulties, and their need may be different from place to place.  The real NEED however is the same for everyone.  We all need the Savior (1 Tim. 2:4).  We all need the comfort that only God can give (Phil. 4:9).  So my prayer is that God may supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).  But most of all I pray that you receive your greatest need and that is Christ.  I pray that you will obey his will in believing in His name (John 8:24), that you repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), that you confess Him as your Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10), and that you are baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21) so that you can meet the greatest need in the world - Salvation.  May God bless your day today!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Is Sacrifice?

                In America, most of the time we believe that sacrifice is missing part of a football game on Sunday afternoon in order to make it to evening services.  Some Christian may not even make this sacrifice.   Sacrifice to us is eating lunch a few minutes later because services ran a little long on Sunday morning.  Sacrifice to Americans is having to put a few extra bucks in the collection plate, when we were planning to spend it buying a candy bar and a coke or something different of our choosing.  Typically we as Americans see sacrifice very differently than the people here in Africa. 
                Some of the students asked me if I missed my wife and little girl back home this week. I told them that I did very much, and I have been blessed to be able to see and talk to her a little bit through skype when it is working.  They tell me that they are glad that I am here and have sacrificed much to come.  I appreciated the gesture and thought to myself that I had sacrificed the time and my family’s time to come and be here with the brethren, which I might add that I am enjoying very much.  I was able to go to the student’s dormitories the other day to see what they were like.   To my surprise they were similar to the dorms we might find in college, with an African twist to them of small, old, and run down.  The difference was each dorm had a kitchen that was about 4x4 foot.  Let me remind you their kitchen is not like a kitchen in America.  They would have a propane bottle with a hose attached to some sort of cook top with very old pans and utensils that an American would have thrown away 10 years ago.  There are 2 sleeping areas of each being about a 10 x 10.  This doesn’t sound too bad… if you only had two people like we would in a typical American college dorm room.  Instead they have 4-5 people in each room.  I was standing in the middle of the room with a double arm interval and could almost reach one bed on one side of the room and the other bed on the other side of the room.  With the 2 rooms there is one bathroom the all of the student in that dorm you would share.  Remember these men are here for a two year program.   With their earlier mention of my sacrifice to be with them, I asked a couple of the students, about their families and their time here just to find out more about them.  I almost found myself getting a little teary eyed to find out that one of the brothers had left his family in a far off village by themselves so that he could come and learn about the bible.  He might get to see his family once every couple of months.  I then thought about them asking me if I missed my family, and I replied I did but was a little disheartened when the internet was not working properly.  How little I felt when I found out that this man has not even talked to or seen his family in months.  He has sacrificed many times more than what I even considered to be sacrifice on my part.  I was also talking with another student who continues to ask about my family and if I miss them.  I basically gave the same response as before.  I found out that he has a wife and a 7 week old baby that he has left in his village with his mother in order for him to come and be a preacher of God’s word.  This really touched me when I knew that he was not being able to spend time with his new baby, but instead is away learning about the Bible.  I remember how special and still how special the moments with your kids are.  These men do not have enough money to move their families to the same location as where the school is, so they must come by themselves or not come at all.  They do not have the same lines of communication as we do in America just to pick up the phone, skype, or send an email whenever they choose.  They go days and months without seeing possible talking to their families.  We think if very difficult of having to sacrifice 30 extra minutes on a Sunday for missing a ball game or going to eat, when these brothers sacrifice is many more times that we could ever think.  If we put it in the right perspective, we would decide not to preach the word.  I am humbled at these men’s passion for the Lord and at the lengths they will go to learn about the Bible and are eager to teach others about God’s saving message.   I want myself and those who are reading this to ask yourself what you have sacrificed for God, and if you think you have sacrifices a lot, does it come close to what these men have done? 
                Let us however not forget the greatest sacrifice ever made.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes should have everlasting life.”   Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let us live for Jesus and remember His sacrifice that He gave for us. May God bless your day.